Institution - General
Institution - Two-Factor Authentication
Individual - General
Individual - Getting Registered
Criminal Background Check
Q. What is the NMLS Unique ID number?
A. The NMLS Unique ID number is assigned to each entity (institution, subsidiary or natural person) at the time an account is created (see Getting Access to the NMLS Federal Registry below). Once assigned, an NMLS Unique ID number is never duplicated and the specific entity will always use the same NMLS Unique ID number. See the NMLS Unique Identification Number page for more information.
Q. Does NMLS provide electronic notifications to users when actions are taken within the Federal Registry?
A. Yes, electronic notifications are delivered to both the individual MLO and the institution. See the Notifications Navigation Guide for a full review of all notifications related to the federal registration process.
Q. What e-mail address do these notifications come from?
A. All e-mail notifications come from NMLS_Notifications@NMLSNotifications.com. You may need to update your e-mail provider’s spam or junk mail settings to ensure timely delivery of notifications from this address.
Q. What fees are associated with the federal registration process?
A. For a complete list of fees, see NMLS Processing Fees.
Q. How are fees paid?
A. All fees are collected through the NMLS system. See the Financial Administration Navigation Guide and NMLS Payment Options for more information
Institution - General
Q. How does an institution or subsidiary get access to the NMLS Federal Registry?
A. Institutions or subsidiaries that do not currently have accounts on NMLS should review the Getting Started: Institutions page.
Q. Who should be an Account Administrator?
A. Account Administrators should be individuals that an institution determines is authorized to manage that institution’s account and submit information on behalf of that institution. Additional factors to consider when identifying or changing Account Administrators include:
• Account Administrators have the ability to view MLOs’ personally identifiable information and any criminal history record information generated by the criminal background check. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has advised NMLS that individuals employed solely by a depository institution’s subsidiary are not authorized to view criminal background check results. As a result, NMLS requires that the Account Administrators for a subsidiary match the Account Administrators for that subsidiary’s parent depository institution.
• The Final Rule addresses certain circumstances under which the same individual can be both a registered MLO and an institution’s Account Administrator or Organization User. Institutions should consult their federal regulators if they have further questions about this topic.
Q. What is the difference between an Account Administrator and an Organization User?
A. Both Account Administrators and Organization Users are account types that access the Federal Registry to perform tasks on behalf of an institution. Account Administrators are users that have the ability to perform all tasks available to institutions. Organization Users are created by Account Administrators and are delegated specific roles to assist them in managing the institution’s account on the Federal Registry. An Institution can create as many Organization Users as it deems necessary. If an institution determines that the two existing Account Administrators are sufficient, it does not need to create additional Account Administrators or Organization Users. See the Account Administration Navigation Guide for more information on creating Organization Users and assigning various roles to them.
Q. My company already has an account in NMLS for state licensing purposes. Does it need to establish a new account with a new NMLS ID number for the Federal Registry?
A. No. An institution or subsidiary with an existing account in NMLS will not need to create a new account. Instead, the Account Administrator will request federal filing authority within the existing state account, and will continue to use the same NMLS Unique ID number. See the Requesting Federal Filing Authority Quick Guide for more information.
Q. My Company Account Request has been approved and my Account Administrators have received their system-generated user names and passwords. What’s next?
A. The Federal Registry requires two-factor authentication for all Account Administrators and Organization Users. This means that institution users will need to have a security credential available the first time they attempt to log into NMLS. See Two-Factor Authentication below. Once an Account Administrator has registered his or her security credential with NMLS, he or she may begin creating filings on behalf of the institution
Q. What is the batch upload process?
A. NMLS allows an institution to batch upload basic information on its MLOs in order to create accounts on their behalf. The batch upload process also allows the institution to determine the level of control it will have over its MLOs throughout the registration process. The Institution Management of MLO Navigation Guide and Creating & Uploading an MLO Batch Upload File Quick Guide provide further information about this process.
Q. What is two-factor authentication?
A. Two-factor authentication is a process by which two independent authentication methods (such as a security code in addition to a user name and password) are utilized to increase confidence that an individual is authorized to access a secure system. See the Two Factor Authentication page for more information.
Q. Who is required to have two-factor authentication?
A. Institution’s Account Administrators and Organization Users, federal agency users, and support users. It does not apply to individual MLOs who only have access to their own information in NMLS. Therefore, MLOs should not obtain security credentials.
Q. Is there a fee associated with the two-factor authentication?
A. Yes. There is a $55 annual credential subscription fee paid through the Federal Registry for each user account that requires two-factor authentication. This fee covers the annual expenses of supporting the two-factor authentication process. Once the fee has been paid, the credential will need to be registered with NMLS. See the Register a Credential Quick Guide for more information about this process.
Q. Can one credential be used by multiple people within the same institution?
A. No. The same credential cannot be shared by multiple individuals within the same institution. If an Account Administrator or Organization User leaves an institution, the credential can be deregistered and used by a new user. However, two-factor annual subscriptions cannot be transferred between users.
Q. I need to access multiple institution accounts – do I need a different credential for every account?
A. No. A credential can be registered by the same individual for multiple institution accounts (a parent institution and subsidiary, or multiple institutions within the same corporate family, for example). However, the annual subscription fee will be charged per account.
Q. How do I renew my annual credential subscription?
A. See the Pay Credential Subscription Fees Quick Guide for information regarding renewing your credential subscription.
Individual - General
Q. How does an individual MLO get access to the NMLS Federal Registry?
A. Before attempting to establish an account on the NMLS Federal Registry, individual MLOs should consult their employer(s). Institutions have the ability to create accounts on behalf of their MLOs. If an institution or subsidiary decides the MLO will be creating their own individual account, the MLO can request an account directly through NMLS. See the Create an Individual Account Quick Guide for more information.
Q. As an MLO, I already have an account and NMLS Unique ID number. Do I need a new account and NMLS Unique ID number?
A. No. You will continue to use the same account and NMLS Unique ID number for federal registration purposes. To become federally registered, you will need to grant your employer access (after the institution has created its own account and submitted its Form MU1R) and follow your institution’s instructions for completing the Form MU4R (see Creating Filings below). See the Granting Institution Access Quick Guide for more information.
Individual - Getting Registered
Q. What needs to happen to be actively registered on the NMLS Federal Registry?
A. An MLO must complete and submit the MU4R and submit fingerprints to NMLS for a criminal background check. The institution, after reviewing the information contained in the MU4R and any information generated by the CBC, confirms the MLO’s employment. Upon that confirmation, NMLS will generate an e-mail notification to the MLO that he or she is now actively registered.
Q. What filings does an MLO have to complete on the NMLS Federal Registry?
A. The MLO must complete and attest to the Form MU4R. Before creating a new Form MU4R, MLOs should consult their employer, as employing institutions and subsidiaries have the ability to create and complete portions of the Form MU4R on their behalf.
Q. Can an institution submit and pay for its MLOs Form MU4Rs on behalf of the MLO?
A. Yes. NMLS allows institutions to pay for MLOs’ registration fees, including the Form MU4R processing fee and criminal background check fee, in bulk. See the Paying MU4R Fees for Institution Submitted MU4R Filings Quick Guide for more information.
Q. Can information in a Form MU4R be amended after submission?
A. Yes. If the Form MU4R has already been submitted, but the employing institution believes information should be changed prior to confirming the employment and activating the registration, it can request a correction. See the Employment Record Management Instructions Quick Guide. If the MLO needs to update information after he or she has an active registration, changes can be made through an amended MU4R. See the Amending an MU4R Quick Guide for more information.
Criminal Background Check
Q. How can an MLO submit fingerprints to the NMLS Federal Registry?
A. After a MLO’s Form MU4R, including the criminal background check request, has been submitted and paid for, the MLO can submit fingerprints through NMLS’ nationwide network of Livescan locations. See the Submitting Fingerprints page for additional information.
Q. What is the cost for the Criminal Background Check (CBC)?
A. The fee for the criminal background check is $36.25. This is paid when the MU4R is submitted to NMLS. An additional $10 fee is assessed if, at the time of scheduling, physical print cards are selected.
Q. I have a large number of MLOs at one location. Is it possible to have an approved vendor visit my location to collect fingerprints?
A. Yes. See the Group Appointments and Group Scheduling for Fingerprints page for more information about this option.
Q. There are no approved Livescan locations near me. What should I do?
A. If there are no convenient Livescan locations, an MLO can opt to receive physical print cards that can be taken to a local law enforcement department and then returned through the mail. There is an additional $10 charge for this option in order to cover additional costs associated with mailing and processing physical print cards. Additionally, local law enforcement agencies may charge a fee for performing this service.
Q. What happens when an MLO’s fingerprints came back as “illegible”?
A. See the Illegible Prints Quick Guide for instructions on how to resubmit fingerprints.
Q. Can institutions use prints that are on file? Can the institution continue to use their existing vendor?
A. Currently, NMLS can only accept prints collected through an existing network outside of NMLS under certain circumstances. See the Resource Center’s Submitting Fingerprints page for more information.
Q. If an MLO already has fingerprints on file with NMLS, can those fingerprints be used again?
A. Yes. If an MLO has fingerprints already on file with NMLS that are less than three years old, those existing prints can be used. The $36.25 fee will still apply.
Q. Who will have access to the CBC results?
A. Employing institutions will have access to the CBC results. Account Administrators by definition will have access to this information, and can create additional Organization Users as necessary to help review CBC results. See the Viewing CBC Results Quick Guide for instructions on how to access this information in the system. It is important to note that the FBI has stated that only employees or authorized representatives of a federally chartered or insured institution may have access to view the Criminal Background Check results in NMLS. Employees of an institution’s subsidiaries are not permitted to access CBC results.
Q. When is a criminal background check required?
A. A criminal background check is only required at the time of initial registration and whenever an MLO changes employers. Criminal background checks are not required when renewing or reactivating a registration.
Q. The CBC I received includes the message "*DENOTES STATE BUREAU(S) RESPONSE(S) NOT RECEIVED IN ALLOTED TIME PERIOD"; how should I process this CBC result?
A. To process a CBC result containing this message, please review the NMLS developed guidance related to timeout messages.
Q. How will the public be able to verify registration?
A. Federal registrants appear in NMLS Consumer Access.
Q. What information will be available for the public?
A. See the Federal Registrant Information Available through Consumer Access for specific details. Sensitive personally identifying information such as an MLO’s date of birth or Social Security Number will not be made public.
Q. How long does a registration remain active?
A. Federal regulations require individual mortgage loan originator registrations and institution accounts be renewed on an annual basis in order to remain active. Registrations that are not renewed will become inactive. See the Annual Renewal and Reactivation page for more information and instructions on completing the renewal process.
Q. When are registrations renewed?
A. The Annual Renewal Period is from November 1 to December 31. Inactive registrations can be reactivated at any time, and will remain active for the rest of that calendar year.
Q. Are new background checks required for registration renewal?
A. No. Mortgage loan originators are not required to submit new fingerprints or authorize new background checks as part of the renewal process.
Q. What happens if an MLO fails to renew?
A. The MLO’s registration status will change to “Inactive” both in NMLS and on Consumer Access. Once this happens, the employing institution will need to begin, and the MLO will need to complete, the reactivation process in order to have an “Active” registration. See the Annual Renewal and Reactivation page for more information and instructions on reactivating registrations.
Q. What happens if an MLO changes employers during the renewal period?
A. Each unique combination of “Active” registration and primary federal regulator is required to renew, unless an MLO registration was initially “Active” on or after July 1. The Renewal/Reactivation Activity Report should be run regularly during the renewal period to identify MLOs that need to complete the renewal process.
Q. How does a Merger & Acquisition (M&A) impact the renewal or reactivation process?
A. A M&A that occurs during the annual Renewal/Reactivation period requires MLOs to be renewed/reactivated by the acquired institution prior to being transferred to the acquiring/purchasing institution via the M&A process in NMLS.